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REVIEW: That Certain Spark by Cathy Marie Hake

”That Certain Spark” by Cathy Marie Hake is a charming novel of the old west. Twin doctors – one a physician, the other a veterinarian – each accept a four-year contract to come to the town of Gooding, Texas and set up medical and veterinary practices. When Enoch and Taylor step off the train, it comes as a bit of a surprise to the mayor and most of the townsfolk that their new doctor is a woman! Some rally behind Taylor, others are determined to run her off.

This book that brings me fond remembrances of “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman”, is a truly enjoyable, rewarding and thought-provoking read. As I cheered from my reading chair for Taylor to get the support she needed to keep her medical practice, I learned to like even the protagonists in the novel. It is a good reminder for us today to revisit the “days of yesteryear” when women couldn’t practice certain careers, vote or wear pants. It should serve an incentive to keep plugging away to achieve those things on which we’ve set our sights and not give up in the face of opposition.

And though this Christian historical romantic read is just for women, the message of oppression conveyed by this novel is not. Christians are highly oppressed everywhere. Although persecution may not exist in the United States as it does in other countries around the world, we are frequently paralyzed by our freedom. Many of us, myself included, fail to share our faith as we should out of fear. Whether it be a fear of rejection or being labeled unfavorably in a certain environment, this should not be the case because God didn’t give us a Spirit of fear. This book shows what Christian courage in the face of adversity looks like. Its appearance hasn’t changed much in a couple thousand years. It would be nice to see its frequency dramatically increase.

Although this book ends a bit abruptly and there are moments when I have to re-read passages because I don't see a clear path to where the author has taken me, this novel contains many wonderful moments. I can certainly recommend "That Certain Spark" for individual and group reading and discussion.

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